Wisdom teeth removal has become sort of a rite of passage for many adolescents and young adults. Quite a few older individuals also undergo this procedure. Still, you may wonder exactly what the wisdom teeth are and whether it is truly necessary to remove them. On this page, you learn the answers to those questions. You will also discover how the team at Family Dental Practice of Newington performs wisdom teeth extractions.
The wisdom teeth are the third set of molars at the very back of the mouth. Most individuals have four wisdom teeth, one in each quadrant of the mouth. However, some people have more or fewer than that. The wisdom teeth get their name from the fact that they develop much later than all of the other teeth, usually when a person is in their late teens or early 20s — when they are older and “wiser” than they were in childhood.
The prevailing theory among scientists about why we have wisdom teeth relates to the diet of our ancient ancestors. They may have needed more teeth in order to properly chew a variety of rough foods. As generations have passed and food processing techniques have evolved, the wisdom teeth have become unnecessary.
Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. For most individuals, however, their mouths are simply too small to accommodate a third set of molars. Therefore, their wisdom teeth may get stuck fully or partially beneath the gum line. Or, the teeth may erupt at an odd angle. Such issues can lead to a number of oral health complications, including:
When you visit us for routine checkups, we will keep an eye on your wisdom teeth. If we notice that they are causing problems, or we believe they may do so in the future, we will recommend extractions. Some patients choose to have their wisdom teeth removed as a purely precautionary measure.
We use both anesthesia and sedation to make our patients as comfortable throughout their treatment. During the extraction procedure, we may need to create an incision in the gums and/or break the wisdom teeth into pieces in order to remove them with as little damage to the surrounding tissue as possible. After the teeth are out, we close the incision.
Following your procedure, you should eat soft foods and avoid vigorous activity for several days. It is also important that you temporarily avoid straws because the suction action could disturb the blood clots at the extraction sites. You are encouraged to contact us if you experience any unusual pain or have other concerns during your recovery. Most patients are able to resume their normal eating habits and everyday activities within 7 – 10 days after their procedure.
If you need to undergo wisdom tooth extractions, the team at Family Dental Practice of Newington is ready to assist you. In the meantime, you may want to gather more information about this procedure and what you can expect from it. To help you out, we have put together the following list of FAQs, along with succinct answers. Feel free to reach out to us directly if you do not see the answers to your specific questions.
Wisdom teeth are quite common. Most people have four of them — one in each quadrant of their mouth. However, not everyone has them. According to one estimate, anywhere between 5% and 37% of people are missing at least one wisdom tooth. On the other end of the spectrum, some people have more than four wisdom teeth.
Whether you develop wisdom teeth, as well as the number of them you get, depends largely on your genetics. If you do not have them yet, it may be due to your age; they typically show up sometime between the ages of 17 and 21.
Here are some practical steps you can take before your wisdom tooth extractions:
We strive to ensure our patients’ comfort during wisdom tooth surgery. Your mouth will be numbed, and sedation is available for most patients. You should feel little to nothing during your procedure.
After any anesthesia and sedation wear off, you can expect some soreness and general discomfort. Most patients are back to feeling normal within 7 – 10 days if they carefully follow post-operative instructions.
Your dentist may identify problems with your wisdom teeth that have not yet progressed to the point where you are in pain. They may recommend extractions as a way to spare you from future discomfort and prevent oral health complications.
Of course, not everyone needs to get their wisdom teeth removed. If you are not in pain, and your dentist has not identified any reasons to extract your third molars, they should be able to remain in your mouth without causing unpleasant consequences. Later on, if your dentist believes they may cause problems, removal will be recommended.